MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — COVID-19 has many doing their holiday shopping in front of a computer screen. But that great deal that pops up in your inbox could be something more sinister.
A tech company found phishing attempts rose 80% during the first half of November. And in a national survey, nearly one-fifth of respondents say they’ve already been the victim of a cybercrime.READ MORE: Plymouth Police Search For Vehicle In Hit-And-Run Of Bicyclist
It’s the time of year where people typically are spending time shopping, finding that Black Friday deal or searching for the perfect gift. The traditional shopping inside stores has shifted this year, with approximately 62% finding gifts online.
Michael Johnson is director of the Technological Leadership Institute at the University of Minnesota.
âEcommerce is going to be even more critical, and phishing is going to be even more of a problem,â Johnson said.
Johnson says scammers have two goals: to get your data and to get you to click on something to infect your system. It could be luring a consumer to click on a deal.READ MORE: 'Extremely Concerning': Wisconsin Farm Where Chronic Wasting Disease Was Detected Sent Deer To Minnesota
âThey might use a discount or a gift card offer,â Johnson said.
He says consumers have caught on, but with COVID pushing more buying online, criminals are targeting internet shoppers more intensely.
âYou always should be skeptical of any urgent request. Step back and stop yourself from clicking,â Johnson said.
He says it you get something from what you think is a known retailer, check the email address to see if it’s legit, and look for typos. Instead of clicking, it’s a good idea to go directly to the website to look for the offer or deal.
âNothing is ever free on the internet, and if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is,â Johnson saidMORE NEWS: MN State Patrol: School Bus Companies Report 161 Stop-Arm Violations In First 15 Days Of School
Johnson says it’s also a good idea to keep an eye on your bank and credit card statements this time of the year. Monitoring charges can help detect fraud.